Good Call

A work of fiction submitted from the prompt: Inevitable

One word came to mind easily when contemplating the inevitable: death.

And that is exactly what young Lewis was thinking about one rainy Saturday afternoon as he sprawled on his bed.

He woke up late, as deemed proper on a weekend. His parents are out of town, again, after cancelling what was supposed to be their trip to his grandfather because of work. So there he is reading and re-reading his favourite comic books all day, and as the stormy clouds covered the once clear blue sky, his room lost the touch of sunlight and he did not bother to switch on the lamp. He decided to stop reading the comics and just stare blankly at the ceiling. He hates being dramatic, but it just so happens that most brains are wired to find darkness related to thoughts of nothingness, and eventually death. And the fact that the adults somehow came to the conclusion such thoughts should not occupy anyone with red rosy cheeks, too green for the world that it is not good for their growth, makes him very careful never to tell anyone about it and just ponder upon it himself.

Actually, he was just wondering if Grandpa Joe is as disappointed as he is that they don’t meet this weekend, and if in days like this he miss Grandma Su more than any other, just because of this sick game the brain is playing on everyone just because the movies created nuances of certain images related to each other, and made their ways to the the storage, popping out at times like this. That is one of the reasons why they were planning to visit him; it’s been a month since Grandma Su passed away, and even though Grandpa Joe seems to handle it just fine, Lewis thinks it’s just nice to keep him company.

Suddenly, it took an unlikely, deeper turn. It’s like there is this dusty, dim room that is his brain, which he entered. He snapped his fingers and small light bulbs hung around the walls flickered, his pupils adjusting to it. There are loads of pictures hung on the wall, mostly of his parents and him, his grandparents, and his friends, Judy, Dio and the twins, Ash and Min. There are posters of his comic books, too. There is a huge cabinet where he assumed he would find his own drawings. Then he saw it, the one thing that always brings him to this moment of clarity: “the mind-opener”. As he expected, there was a piece of paper on a desk, written on it was: “All humans will perish eventually. We just don’t know when, but one thing is certain. We are mortal beings, with just one life, at least as ourselves”.

Huh, was his first reaction, followed by a tentative, trruuee. And again he wander around the warmly-cast room, one hand supporting his chin, while another supporting his other elbow. He thought about how weird it is that Grandma Su, who is always eating healthy and regularly exercising would just be found lifeless on her sleep, while everybody said that was the key to a long life. She was gone as much as how Dio’s uncle died because of diabetes and heart problems, or how Judy’s Mum lost her fight on cancer, though she had fought well, as his parents would say. Probably there is someone up or down there who decided that it’s time for people to leave and never come back–which he find odd because if it concerns the person who needs to go and those who are going to be left behind, why these so-called decision-makers kept it a secret. If death is really inescapable and they just gave them some heads up, surely it wouldn’t sadden too much people who got left behind… or cause too much of a shock to those who did leave.

He side-stepped to his right and found a long comfortable chair and rest his body on it. He continued wondering how inefficient, or rather indecisive, these decision-makers are. It is hard to pinpoint why they even let humans live on the first place if in the end they are just going to take them away. Is death not the ultimate purpose? But then what? Is it to live? But then why are there lots of rules of what one can and cannot do? Lewis, for instance, likes eating burgers and fries, and probably that is the one thing he is most excited about in living apart from reading his comic books, meeting up with his friends and spending time with his family. He said it for more than a million times, but he doesn’t mind having burger and fries everyday for the rest of his life, and he thinks that it will make him happy. Unfortunately, everyone’s digestive system, Lewis’ included, cannot match that sort of diet; people will be obese, have a heart failure and die. So, he cannot really do that unless he doesn’t mind dying in pain with an extra trouble breathing while he is in between. After all, he still wants to hang with his friends and find out how the main character of his comic book solve a mystery that will come out on the next series, released sometimes around next year.

Then, he thought of Grandpa Joe, and how he liked spending time with him, especially when he tells him the comic books and books he read when he was Lewis’ age. He doesn’t want him to go like Grandma Su did, without any warning. But then even when the signs are somehow clear, it always strikes when it is most unexpected: when the sick ones shows improvement, or when it took the lives of the young, or relatively young ones, instead of the older ones, and so on. Then he was engulfed with fear, not only because he doesn’t want his family or friends to leave and not come back, but also because the fact that he, or anyone, cannot do anything about it. He suddenly felt smaller than he physically is already.

At that, he opened his eyes and sat up from his bed, feeling a little suffocated. The rain is still pouring heavily outside, with occasional lightning and thunder accompanying it. He saw his phone lying on the floor next to his neatly piled comic books. He took it and dialed a number, which is immediately connected.

“Lewis? My boy, I’m glad you called.”

“Hi, Grandpa Joe. Sorry we can’t make it today. How are you?”

For now, Lewis thought, at least the uneasiness earlier subsided. Maybe, just maybe, life–things you like, people you like–is merely a distraction to the fear of the inevitable. Oh, well, Lewis thought, I have always been easily pleased anyway. Perhaps all humans are.

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